Tri-State Safety Brings Multitude of Agencies Together, Focus on Boating Safety

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Officials to emphasize safety as boats launch during May 3 event

PHOENIX — A consortium of state, local and federal boating agencies is hosting the fifth annual Tri-State Boating Safety Fair at Lake Havasu State Park to educate boaters about boating safety May 3 at from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The theme of this year’s fifth annual safety fair will encourage boaters to take a boating education class, focus on the effects of operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol, and convey the importance of wearing life jackets.

A team of safety professionals from Arizona, California and Nevada will come together to conduct boating safety demonstrations on the river and encourage everyone to wear life jackets. “We want to reach as many people from both sides of the river as possible before this year’s boating season, reminding them of how important it is to exercise safe and responsible behavior when on the water” said Kevin Bergersen, Arizona’s Boating Law Administrator.

Visitors at the event and along the river will receive a “boating safety bag” full of small gifts and educational materials about boating laws in the three states through which the Colorado River runs. “Boating officials and law enforcement officers from each state will hand out boating safety bags and answer questions at 27 different boat launch ramps along the Colorado River,” said Bergersen.

Raynor Tsuneyoshi, California’s Boating Law Administrator agrees, “Outreach is the key to getting these important safety messages conveyed to the public since mandatory education is not a prerequisite for owning a boat.”

Navigation rules, boating laws, the consequences of carbon monoxide poisoning and operating under the influence of alcohol are just some of the topics that a boat owner should know. “Encouraging boaters to take a boating education class and our interaction with them is a positive method for conveying information that could save someone’s life,” he said.

The Boating Safety Fair will include public safety information booths, a demonstration of a water rescue, free vessel safety checks, and a drawing conducted by California’s boating safety campaign for a chance to win a personal watercraft and a seven-day house boating trip. Safety Fair participants can register to be in the drawing by taking the Tri-State Boating Safety Quiz at the event. Winners will be notified at the end of the summer boating season.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and state boating safety agencies will be conducting free vessel safety checks to ensure that a boater has all legal requirements and safety gear aboard the boat. In addition, corporate sponsors, such as Kawasaki, will be giving families a chance to bring in one outgrown or unsafe life jacket to trade in for a brand new one from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., while supplies last. Newer self-inflatable flotation devices are more comfortable, affordable and durable than ever. New styles will be on display.

Several different states, and local and boating safety organizations will host events and demonstrations throughout the day. The California boating safety team will demonstrate “hooked goggles” that simulate the debilitating effects of alcohol, and water rescue demonstrations will be performed with the cooperation of various law enforcement agencies, utilizing devices that detect and measure carbon monoxide poisoning.

Boating officials will also take time to educate boaters on the recent discovery of quagga mussels at lakes Mead, Mohave and Havasu, reminding them to clean their boats and trailers thoroughly to prevent the spread of the destructive species on the Colorado River system.

“Quagga mussels are a nasty invasive species that should be taken seriously because they do tremendous damage to boats, infrastructure and ecosystems,” said

Fred Messmann, Nevada’s Boating Law Administrator. He said experts will be on hand to demonstrate cleaning techniques, explain the issue and provide clarification to boaters with questions.

Day-use entry fee at the park will be waived, however, the boat launching fee of $9 will still be charged. The public is encouraged to stay the entire day to picnic, swim, fish and watch the events. For more information about the boating safety fair, call Lake Havasu State Park at (928) 855-9394 or go to www.BoatColoradoRiver.com.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, and promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW’s wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen’s license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. For more information, visit www.ndow.org.